HAKAM was founded under the leadership of two of Malaysia’s former Prime Ministers, namely, Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj and Tun Hussein Onn. HAKAM is registered as a society with the objective to, among others, promote, preserve and defend human rights in Malaysia.
The Persatuan Kebangsaan Hak Asasi Manusia, or the National Human Rights Society is more commonly known by its abbreviation of “HAKAM”.
At the 40th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights 1948 on 10 December 1988, the NGO community in Malaysia, together with former Prime Ministers Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj and Tun Hussein Onn, alongside prominent civil activists Raja Aziz Addruse, Dr. Tan Chee Khoon and Tan Sri Ahmad Nordin, declared the intent to form a National Human Rights Society to promote and protect human rights in Malaysia.
HAKAM received formal registration with the Malaysian Registrar of Societies under the Societies Act 1966 on 14 June 1991.
HAKAM’s objectives are multi-fold, including:- *
1. To promote, preserve and defend human rights and for that purpose:-
(a) To promote and encourage respect for and observance of individual and collective human rights, that is to say, civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights, as well as to promote the recognition that every individual has a duty to other individuals and to the community at large;
(b) To propagate the principles of human rights enunciated in the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights; and
(c) To advise the government to ratify the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, International Covenant on the Civil and Political Rights, Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and other United Nations, International or Regional instruments on human rights.
2. To campaign by lawful means for the repeal of all laws inconsistent with or repugnant to the principles of human rights and the rule of law and for the promulgation of legislation for securing observance and advancement of the cause of human rights;
3. To receive petitions or complaints from individuals and groups of individuals in relation to violations of human rights and to assist them to obtain redress, and to endeavour for the provision of legal advice and representation when necessary;
4. To undertake studies and research into the state of human rights in the country and to publish the findings thereof subject to such approval as may be required by law;
5. To initiate analysis of, and reflection on, those values and principles embodied in the various spiritual traditions in the country which are of direct relevance to human rights;
6. To liaise and cooperate with national, regional and international groups concerned with human rights.
* Drawn from HAKAM’s Constitution